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Lewis Love (Teacher)

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01/27/13 08:02 AM #1    

James Wynne

Lew, you were the best. A great teacher is the most valuable of all people, and you were the epitome of a great teacher. You opened the door to the world of physics for me. I went through that door and, ever since,  have had a rewarding and productive journey. No words of thanks are sufficient for what you gave me and the thousands of other students who were fortunate enough to have you as their teacher. Whenever I talk to young people about science, I always start by telling them about my fabulous physics teacher who showed me the way.

Rest in peace, knowing that many of us try our best to live up to the standard of excellence in teaching that you demonstrated every single day in your classroom.

02/23/13 09:01 AM #2    

James Wynne

Lewis Love, my high school physics teacher, passed away on January 23, 2013. I notified all of my Great Neck North High School classmates, Class of 1960, for whom I had email addresses, and I received an outpouring of response, which is herein attached (with some minor editing).


  • Richard Epstein: A true loss of a great teacher.  I have taught now for close to 45 years, and he was always the person whom I admired for giving his all to his students and his subject.  Just recall the many colors of chalk that he used with each assignment.  We did talk several times long after he retired, and he was still determined to be apostle of science throughout the world.
  • Larry Solomon: I have been aware for many years how important an impact Lewis Love was to your life. I am very sorry for your loss and never forget that the spirit of Lewis Love continues to live thru you and your work.

  • Ann Garfinkle: Please tell us more about Mr. Love's life. I was very fond of him, and he was the best teacher I had in high school. I did start college in physics because of his influence, but the rampant sexism at the time moved me elsewhere. I am sorry that you lost your friend.  He was a very fine teacher and person.

  • Madeline Hans: My condolences, Jim.  He, of course, lives on in his students. That is the mark of a great teacher. I wish I was awake enough to know him all those years ago.

  • Marji Grossman: Thanks for the note, Jim.  I agree.  Though never particularly interested in the sciences, Mr. Love did, indeed, stand out as a terrific teacher: a very soft, loving man.

  • Norman Levy: One of the reasons Professor Love was such an inspiring teacher is that he managed to combine his love for the subject with being a truly nice and caring person to all students.

  • Judy Silberstein: Sorry for your loss, I know how important he was for you, Jim. According to my limited understanding, matter is never destroyed, just changes form. His spirit/energy is somewhere in your heart.

  • Dick Rogers: Lewis Love was also my favorite teacher.  The joy he showed in class, his knowledge of the subject matter, combined with his genuine concern for his students, was unique.  He inspired me to do my very best and awakened my interest in science.  After expressing faith in my ability, I was very inspired to work hard so I wouldn't disappoint him.  We lost one of the very best.  May he rest in peace.

  • Peter Meyer: Lew was always a teacher.  It was in his blood.  If I remember correctly (increasingly getting to be a problem), he came to our 45th reunion at the LaGuardia airport hotel, wearing his trademark sneakers and crew neck sweater, and taught a mini physics lesson with a spoon.  He left this world a gentler and smarter place for thousands of his students.
    Thanks for letting us know, Jim.

  • Kal Post: Last week, I was taking care of the wife of an elderly, well-known, math professor at Princeton. and we were talking about teachers who influenced us. He asked which math professors I had at Columbia. as that was my minor. I replied that the teachers who most influenced me were in high school, Mr. Love and Mr. Fontanella in math. Medical school is a completely different level of respect, role modeling, and mentorship.Mr. Love was a true gem, with his love of the subject, teaching, and, particularly, his students. A piece of him remains in most of us.

  • Joyce Meyer: Clearly, I missed being taught by someone special back in the day. It's very moving to read how everyone loved and respected Mr. Love. Condolences to you all.

  • Deb Hance: So special that he was with us on our 50th.  His lessons live on in all of us.

  • Mickey Schulhof: Thanks for letting us know.  A real generational change.

  • Norma  Kirschner: We were all very lucky to have had Lew as a teacher, even if just for 9th grade general science.  It’s also great that you made sure that he was invited to the 50th reunion, so we had that opportunity to see him and thank him for his stellar teaching influence while he was still healthy enough to attend. Thanks for letting us know about his passing.

  • Jane Kathrin Seitz: Thank you, Jim, for letting us know. I remember you talking about him at the Reunion. Yes, a generational change, and a real loss.

  • Linda Heller (Gila Lane) & Paul: Sad to hear that Dr. Love has died. Sad to hear that he had been ill. Grateful that he was an inspiration for you.

  • Vicki Paley: Thank you for sending this on - these were not my subjects by that time - but I can see him, smiling at me, warm, lovely, gentle and funny.  Am I remembering him correctly?  He fit his name, right? Seems another world away - amazes me that I have such a strong sense of him - I don't think I have thought about him for over half a century. Nice honoring him in this way, James.

  • Jane Mandelker: Jim, thank you so much for letting us all know. Now, I was the really lucky one: he was my teacher in 7th, 9th, & 12th grade.  His enthusiasm, ability to perk a student's interest in science, and endearing manner influenced me on so many levels. Among his many gifts, I learned to think like a scientist and to teach the scientific method to so many children over the years. I majored in Chemistry (most unusual for a female in those days), I worked as a chemist (truly an oddity in the 60's), and I taught in the field (passing on his methods and values).  For me, his most valuable legacy was an understanding of horrific consequences of nuclear bombs and plants.  How sad how few today truly understand the implications.  He will always be a part of my heart. 

    This was a wonderful opportunity to share feelings with those who understand.
  • Stuart Sieger: I think I speak for everyone on this email when I say that there was hardly a week or a month since my senior year when I have not thought of Mr. Love.  He truly inspired me in all I did, and I was so happy to see him at the last reunion.  He will be sorely missed.

  • Jan Denenholz: Please accept my condolences on your loss.  I know he was a revered mentor and friend to you. As we begin to lose friends and family who are close to us, I find some consolation in realizing the love, caring and wisdom they shared becomes a part of us and is always there within us.
  • Carl Bender: That's very, very sad news. He was a rare and wonderful man, and he inspired many, many people, whether or not they were interested in science. In my own career as a teacher, I tried to borrow some of his teaching techniques...but I am sure that I was never able to equal his genius as a communicator. This is a very sad day for me.      
  • Susan Gordon: Thank you for letting me know. I remember him with his black glasses, his sense of humor, and great intelligence, along with his spirit.
  • Carolyn Tufts: Talking with him on the Saturday school visit was so wonderful.  He was just as wonderful as I remembered him so many years ago.  An inspiration. Thank you for letting us know.  He was still inspiring science teachers all over NY.

  • Adam Bender: Just as Mr. Love was a great inspiration to all of us fortunate enough to be his students, his son, Addison, is now carrying on his dad's tradition of excellence in teaching.

  • Eslyn Emmer: I am very sad to hear this news. He was probably my favorite teacher ever, even though I am scientifically and technologically challenged to this day. My husband, Richard, also remembers him as one of the best. What a legacy after all these years. He was a very special man.

  • Judi Friedman: I am so sorry for his passing. He was an exceptional man and teacher.

  • Bob Marcus: I was truly grateful to have had Mr. Love as my teacher. Thanks, Jim, for initiating this wonderful tribute to his memory.

  • Jon Siegel: “Why? Because pigs don’t whistle and meatballs don’t bounce. And, ‘Y’ is a crooked letter.” That was his answer to the clueless student (and I’m sure I was one of many) when asking what was the meaning of existence or some such, in the middle of a science class. Lewis Love was such a charismatic teacher that he convinced me that I should be a nuclear scientist.  Fortunately, my mother knew that was far beyond my capabilities, and the world was better for it. But, he did make students strive to be all that they could be. A phenomenal teacher and a beautiful person.

  • Larry Dougherty: I remember Mr. Love with great fondness, as an animated and stimulating teacher and for his “right hand screw rule” - Right thumb pointing up, the right index finger pointing horizontally, and the middle, ring and pinky fingers closed, like when making a fist.  It had to do with the direction that electrons flow in a wire when crossed by a magnetic field, but he always demonstrated it with a leering glint in his eye and grin on his face.  Or was that just my warped imagination at work?  I think not.  He was, as always, passionately manifesting his love for all things having to do with physics and his role as a teacher of it.

  • Stuart Sieger:  Because of Dr. Love, I went to Columbia as a physics major. It took me a whole year to understand I needed to do something else, but my love of science has not faltered.

  • Roger Lewis: In our culture we tend to idolize actors, athletes, and singers. Your collective outpouring of love, respect, and admiration for Lewis Love shows where that emotional energy is better directed- at the wonderful teachers who shape and inspire us. People like Lew are the real heroes of our culture. Great to see so many of you recognize his contributions to you, even  50 or 60 years later.

  • Nancy Bronstein: It's particularly wonderful that our classmates are responding with their own Mr. Love stories and memories. Truly, he touched all of us who knew him. Just the fact that he would come to our 50th reunion (and others) was an extraordinary testament to his unique ability and desire to connect with his students as friends and colleagues. Remember, he called us all Mr. and Miss to elevate us with respect, treating us like college students (and this in 9th grade, which is when I knew him). It was a real compliment, one I think we responded to with seriousness of intent. He was one of a kind and we were so lucky to have known him.

    Sad to hear this news. He absolutely was the best teacher I ever had. He set the bar so high, so effortlessly, making science seductive and real, even for those of us who didn't become scientists. I'm guessing we all wish we could leave such a distinctive and lasting mark on peoples' lives. It's very hard to imagine the world without him. If you're at the service, Jim, please pass along these sentiments to his family. He was a teacher we loved and could never forget.

  • Bruce Lefkon: Lew Love's classes were memorable - light refraction, inclined planes, practicing scrawling "LEL", R.E. crawling all over his table, being called Mister - and he was unique.  His respect for us made us feel better about ourselves and earned him our admiration.  I hope that my kids have, and their kids will have, such warm memories of one teacher like Mr Love.

  • Carrol Engel: So sorry to hear about Mr. Love. He was a wonderful teacher and a truly nice man.

  • Gail Scheck Halperin: Hi Classmates,  Just a note to remark that I have a great love of science, which I developed over the years.  I can hardly remember ninth grade science at all and have no idea of who my science teacher was. How fortunate many of you were to have had Lewis Love as your teacher.  It's very moving hearing what a great impact he had on so many lives and to hear your appreciation of him all these years later.  

  • Sue Zaslaw: Gail, your words struck a chord with me because the ONLY teacher I remember from high school is Dr. Love. I can still picture him and can picture something we did in his class that left a lasting impact on me. It did not push me in the direction of science for my life, yet his image and snippets of his class are still alive in my mind. I can't tell you the name of any of my other teachers (and many were fine teachers).

  • Jane Kathrin Seitz: I agree, Gail, it's very moving to see the impact Lewis Love had on all of you. I wish I had studied physics. It scared me, so I didn't!

  • Paul Spiegelman: Responding to what Susan Zaslaw said, I do recall Dr. Love well and fondly. I also remember many of my high school teachers, particularly Mr. Crosby Redmond (not sure of the spelling), who taught eleventh grade English and Creative Writing, and Mr. Watson, who taught Great Issues.   Mr. Redmond was an old-school straitlaced English teacher, who taught the fundamentals of grammar, usage and writing in a way that still is with me:  I still wince whenever anybody uses “irregardless” (regardless would do) or misuses “presently” (it means soon, not now) [BTW, both wince words are now in the dictionary as acceptable.]  Mr. Redmond taught Creative Writing as a discipline and with fundamentals (write a story that takes place in close to the time it takes to read it).  Mr. Watson was more avante garde or at least more in the clouds about what students can learn. He introduced us to philosophy of science and the chronic uncertainties of life (Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle; Hans Vaihinger’s Philosophy of As If).   I also remember my classmates, who were such a crucial part of the learning environment at Great Neck.  It was an incredibly competitive environment, which constantly challenged me.  While there are certainly downsides to relationships in such an environment, it certainly spurred me to greater efforts.  And after I left Great Neck, I was constantly reminded of how very talented a group we were when I heard of the exploits of my classmates.

I hope he will not turn over in his grave when I say this, but my most lasting memory of Dr. Love’s physics class was a day he wasn’t there. It was Spring Semester senior year, and that may have contributed to what resulted.  But we had a substitute teacher who had a lesson plan, but it did not include how to live up to Mr. Love’s dynamic style or how to control seniors whose grades did not really matter that much, because their college applications had long been in. The result was chaos by Great Neck standards:  people were firing paper clips to try get them past the giant magnet in the back of the room, and many of us watched in glee as the clips inevitably curved and were sucked into the magnet field; bells kept going off; electric cars were speeding toward each other. If I am not mistaken even Jim Wynne was party to some of the hijinks  Its been over fifty years since that day, but its memory still brings a smile to my face, as does the memory of Lewis Love and my super motivated and brilliant classmates.

  • Susan Rieders: I was sorry to hear about our favorite teacher, "Mr. Love." I remember him as a warm and understanding teacher, with much patience for a student whose strength was English not Science. He made it fun and enjoyable for me.

  • Allan Berlind: I'm another of us who went on to a career in science and teaching in large measure due to Mr. Love's influence. My memories of the two courses I had with him are more about style than content: his limitless energy and enthusiasm; his clarity; his effective use of drawings; his emphasis on how we know; and, most of all, his affection for his students, even those of higher-than-normal maintenance ("Miss xxxx, you're NO BARGAIN"), or maybe especially those of high maintenance. 

    Mr. Love lived a block and a half from my parents, and I occasionally stopped in to see him when I was visiting. I had saved my 9th grade science notebook, and brought it to show him a dozen or fifteen years ago. He was certainly entertained by seeing the course from 1956, which went from the question of "Why does a baseball curve?" in September to "How does a nuclear reactor work?" in May. When he gave it back to me on my next visit, it was with an interesting observation. He said that some of the material in that course couldn't be handled by many of the seniors he was currently dealing with!


Lew, you were the best!!! Because of you, I became a physicist, and my life has been a joyful and exciting adventure of discovery and learning. THANK YOU!!





04/08/13 03:20 PM #3    

Shepherd Nachbar


Sent By   Arnold J. Weber (GNN '58)

I had Mr. Love for 9th Grade General Science,in the '54-'55 year. May have been his first year. After school Science "rats," not a formal club, but a bunch of guys hung out and played with the apparatus and equipment laying around. I remember one of the guys,found some bones in the ground that was dug up when they were building houses on the Golf course,that was off Bayview Avenue. We piled into his car and went to examine them. He put them in a box, and took them to a friend of his at Brooklyn College. They turned out to be a of young woman who possibly died in childbirth, less than 100 years ago, and privately buried on the site. Mr Love and his friend contacted the "proper authorities," and our dreams of having discovered an old Indian burial ground were squashed. If this had happened today, we all would have been arrested, and Mr. Love would have possibly lost his teaching position for, at the least, transporting students with out authorization. That class was probably the best class I ever had, in High School, or in most of college. I still have my notes. He taught the History of Science and gave wonderful excitement to the personalities of the scientists we were learning about. His favorite "punishment" was asking me to name Alexander the Greats horse! The last time I saw him was at Steppingstone Park, possibly in '62 or '63, I was waiting to be drafted, and he recognized me before I recognized him. He seemed rather down, as he told me he had a bad heart, and had either had an operatin, of was having one. (I don't remember), but I thought he said he had stopped teaching, but I am so glad to know that he recovered, and was able to continue teaching. One last memory, he went to Boston for the Summer of '55 for some study at Harvard, my sister (GNN '49) was taking the Summer publishing course at Radcliffe, and I insisted he go out with her. They did, it was instant hate on both sides. That was the last time I ever tried to matchmake. (I really wanted him as a brother-in-law.) At 14, I thought he was the coolest guy.

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